Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

How Do We Feel About Jesus?

Matthew 4:20

At once they left their nets and followed him.

Growing up I had people I looked up to for sure. I looked up to my father – as a man I wanted to be like when I grew up. I looked up to athletes like Boog Powell – Frank & Brooks Robinson – Wes Unseld – Earl “The Pearl” Monroe – and more. As I grew older there were others I looked up and respected as well. I felt like I wanted to be like these persons – I wanted to be a great dad – I wanted to be an athlete.

If you were to ask me whom I would leave everything to follow – I’m not sure I would have followed any of these – except maybe my father. Of course the Sunday School answer would be Jesus – I would follow Him to the ends of the earth. But would I? Would we? We’d like to think we would – but from time-to-time we fail to do so – don’t we? How do we really feel about Jesus? Continue reading

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May 8, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Missions, Outreach, Personal, Theology, Worship | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Guarding Our Tongues and Our Online Posts

Colossians 4:6

Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.

I often wrestle with today’s subject. I believe we are our own worst enemies in reaching people for Christ and in church life. At times – some of us – if not all of us from time to time – have allowed our tongues to get us in trouble – saying the wrong thing – letting our true attitudes surface through our words (and if not our tongues than our e-mails or tweets or something). Many of us have criticized the POTUS for his tweets – but maybe we ought to examine what we post on social media as well.

At times we try to mask our cutting remarks with humor – but the truth of our heart surfaces through our tongues and through our posts. Maybe it was at a meeting where we let our tongue get us in trouble – being negative – saying the wrong thing – showing our anger or displeasure in less than a godly fashion. Maybe we said something that others overheard when we thought no one else was around. Maybe it was the choice of words that we used – using language that is crude or offensive. Maybe it was something we posted or liked or commented on while on social media. I’m sure we can think of times when we allowed our tongue or thoughts get us in trouble and damage our Christian witness. Continue reading

April 19, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Because You Say So Lord!

Luke 5:5

Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.”

Did we have parents who would say something to us – and we would ask why – they would respond – because I say so? Some parents used that line (I can’t remember my father ever using it but I may have once or twice). Did you? It is a common lines used by many parents.

As parents – we might have wished that our children would respond yes simply because we asked them to do something – after all – we are the parents! Too often – I imagine – that wasn’t the response we got. Sometimes they might have asked why – at times they may have said no – still other times they may have simply ignored us – and on occasion they may have said yes. When they asked why – did we ever say – because I say so? Continue reading

September 25, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How To Turn From Addictions

James 4:7

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

Some of us have addictive personalities or makeups. Our constitution is not strong enough – at times – to withstand the attraction of what we desire. We can be manipulated by things or persons to do things we wouldn’t ordinarily do if it weren’t for that which we become addicted.

For some of us it is hard to resist things we desire. For some – alcohol or drugs become substances that can control our lives. We try to fight the attraction – but often we are too weak to stand opposed to our desires. We try to dry out – we try rehab – we try going cold turkey – and for some it works – but for many of us – it doesn’t. Drugs and alcohol can control our lives and even take our life.

For some of us it is hard to resist things we desire. For some – food is an addiction. I know we must eat to survive – but for some of us – we eat beyond survival. For some – we are addicted to food. There is an old saying – eat to live – don’t live to eat. Over eating can not only control our lives – it can even take our life Continue reading

September 22, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

He Prayed More Earnestly

Luke 22:44

And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.

Growing up – I remember going to prayer meetings and camp meetings where people prayed with such fervor – nothing like (in my mind) the prayers I heard on a Sunday morning. Often the prayer time at less formal settings allowed for more time and it seemed to help people get into a deeper prayer mode.

Has there been a time when we have prayed with fervor and earnestness? I remember praying long and hard during a prayer vigil held at my church when I was a young teen. I signed up for a half-an-hour every day for a month.

Has there been a time when we have prayed with fervor and earnestness? I remember praying long and hard when the planes were hitting during 9-11. I prayed for such evil to be stopped. I prayed for those who were trapped in the towers. Continue reading

August 17, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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